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Vestland (Kingdom of)

Location: Southeast of Heldann, east of Ethengar, north of Soderfjord and west of Ostland. OW

Area: 21,065 sq. mi. (54,558 sq. km.).

Population: 159,400, including the capital city of Norrvik (pop. 16,300). Dwarves make up about 5% of the population. Population figures are down due to wars with goblinoids over the past few years.

Languages: Heldannic.

Coinage: Schilder (5 gp), guldan (gp), hellar (ep), floren (sp), oren (cp).

Taxes: None. Revenue is raised from tolls to use roads and bridges. The king is planning on installing some form of income tax in the next couple of years.

Government Type: Monarchy, with a strong feudal aristocracy. There is also a significant middle class. Member of the Western Defence League.

Industries: Agriculture (potatoes, barley, and beets), logging, fur trading, crafts (with an increasing dwarven presence), trade.

Important Figures: Bergthor Haraldson (King), Harald Gudmundson (Former King), Ceowulf Rotolfson (Jarl of Bornbank).

Flora and Fauna: The deep forests harbour many normal animals-deer, boars, elk, bears and wolves. The western hills are thinly populated with trolls and other assorted goblinoids. The lowlands are home to many sorts of herd animals such as sheep, horse, cattle and goats.

Further Reading: GAZ7 The Northern Reaches, previous almanacs.

Last Year's Events: Caught between the Modrigswerg dwarves who claimed lands in Vestland, and friendly Rockhome dwarves who would not tolerate it, King Bergthor tried to maintain peace and mediate between the factions, unsuccessfully. When all other options failed, Vestland mounted a none-too-successful attack against the separatist Modrigswerg, leaving the kingdom open to raids from Ostland, a friend of the Modrigswerg. This forced the king to retreat and reassess the situation, and seek allies.

A letter of distress from Rotolf Kalfson, former Jarl of Bornbank.

As I have heard of others succeeding at this, I have made the decision to use this opportunity to issue a call for help. Vestland is a nation besieged by foreign forces. The entire nation is in danger of collapse, but none more than the small border clans, such as the one I belong to. While our plight fades compared to the dangers all of Vestland faces, once individual domains start falling, the rest will soon follow.

The small domain of Bornbank has for a long time been the site of disputes between Vestland and Soderfjord. The danger of invasion from the neighbouring Boddergard Clan in Soderfjord has been a constant threat to us, and we have seen a number of raids in the past. Bornbank is not a rich land, but our access to the Landersfjord and what small riches we possess are greatly desired by our neighbours. The clan hall of Vanger is a small, but fairly prosperous market town. We supply the homesteads along the banks of the southern Landersfjord, and with recent events we have become vital to those communities.

As Vestlanders we are hardy and resourceful, thriving in the face of adversity. Yet even the hardiest spirit can be broken by constant hardship. Lately the number of dour faces has increased to the point that a smile is next to impossible to come by. The number of drunken brawls has increased as the inhabitants of our domain seek ways to escape from their troubles. Wooden walls and thatched roofs have begun to fall into disrepair and our once proud clan is becoming a shadow of itself.

What is the cause of all these problems, you ask. We have stoutly faced the hostility of the Boddergard Clan in Soderfjord; while they have recently stirred up more trouble than usual, they are not to blame. Rather, it began with the appearance of the terrible Modrigswerg dwarves, crawling out of their mountain caves. In Vestland, we have always been friends with dwarves; settlers from Rockhome have contributed greatly to our lives and welfare. Yet these dark dwarves are unlike the Rockhome dwarves. They are greedy and ambitious and have chosen to wage war on our nation to fill their own coffers and claim our land.

The rightful King of Vestland, Bergthor Haraldson, led an army against the rotten dwarves, but he faltered in the face of their dark powers, facing their giant allies and creatures conjured by their sorcery. In this darkest hour of our nation, the piratical nation of Ostland struck at our mostly undefended borders. Longships carrying bloodthirsty raiders landed on our shores and plundered all that they could take. Our domain was crippled by the losses inflicted on us that day.

Now, though the king has tried to rally the clans, our future looks very bleak. The lands claimed by the Modrigswerg lie close to us; perhaps we will be their next victims. The pirates from Ostland could return any day to take the few supplies we have left. And the Boddergard Clan eyes us greedily, certainly to take advantage of our weakened position. From where will the next attack come?

So, what I ask of you, if you be a warrior strong of heart, a priest serving just Immortals, or an adventuresome mage with a rightful heart, is to come to our aid, for we are in sore need. Legends will be written about the great exploits awaiting the heroes come to Vestland's aid. There is even a place for you as our kinsmen, should you so desire. Any man or woman proving worthy may be adopted by our clan, to share in the rewards.

Our neighbouring nations are dangerous and should not be visited lightly. Please, when you come to aid us, approach from the sea. While it is still dangerous due to the prowling Ostlander pirates, it is far safer than the hostile lands of Soderfjord and the mountainous regions occupied by the evil Modrigswerg dwarves.